Do You Need to Worry About the Zillow Trulia Merger?

If Zillow does manage to close its acquisition of Trulia, the combined entity will be spending millions to compete with you for consumer mind-share.

The two real estate websites share a common goal – using your listing and real estate articles to gather consumer leads and then selling those leads back to you.

If you don’t want to buy back your own leads, you have to beat Zillia at its own game.

Agents and brokers already have the tools to win the game. You likely have a sizable sphere of influence because you worked hard to build a customer network. You have clients’ contact information. And you know more about the local real estate market than Zillia’s entire editorial staff.

I know this is true because HomeActions thousands of clients have enrolled 1.4 million of their homeowners and prospects into our database. Every two weeks, we’re sending a relationship-building newsletter that builds a defensible pipeline full of past clients and prospects.

By sending out regular, relevant content, HomeActions clients are nurturing, growing and insulating their most valuable asset: Their database!

The acquisition should be a wake-up call for agents and brokers who aren’t leveraging the contact information they collect — other than storing it on their smart phones and in their email, social media and MLS accounts.

You have to defend your customers by moving that contact information into one spot and then nurturing those relationships. We know a lot of folks have trouble with this task. Many of our clients have us do this for them instead of doing it themselves (although a cynic would argue that they let us do it because we don’t charge for that service).

While we help with this process, you never relinquish control over your contacts and we promise never to contact them or sell to them. If you have a company help you manage your contacts and marketing communications, be sure you’re not turning over control of your contacts in the process.

Real estate is a relationship business. It always has been and we don’t think that axiom is going anywhere. The brokers and agents we work with agree that 95 percent of everyone they know will not be on their websites this year. Why? So few are engaged in a real estate transaction.

Homeownership, yes. Buying or selling a home, not so much or so often.

Zillia’s potential as an aggregator of consumer allegiance can chip away at your “relationship” capital only if you fail to stay in touch.

Delivering a steady stream of homeownership-related information portrays you as a trusted adviser, (and a live one at that) and regardless of where they see listings, your clients will think of you first when they’re ready to buy or sell a home.